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article imageFamed Japan cat café closed down for animal neglect

By Lucky Malicay     Apr 22, 2016 in Lifestyle
A cat café in Japan has been raided and ordered closed over complaints of improper management of the animals in what has been described as the country’s first punishment of such establishment.
Health authorities in Tokyo shut down the famed Neko no Te (Cat’s Paw) café and revoked its license for 30 days after finding out that the establishment violated animal cruelty laws.
"We issued repeated requests but there was no improvement," Yuriko Iwamoto, a spokeswoman from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government's Bureau of Social Welfare and Public Health, told AFP on Friday.
The café, located in the capital’s Sumada Ward, has been receiving warnings over hygiene standards following complaints by customers about nasty smell coming from the establishment.
"The property wasn't being cleaned properly and it was beginning to smell very bad," Iwamoto said. "In line with animal welfare laws we were therefore forced to order them to cease business."
Kyodo News reported that, in June last year, the café had applied to keep 10 cats in a 30-square-meter area but authorities found 62 cats cramped inside during an inspection in December — 44 of them showed common cold symptoms.
Authorities issued the closure order after they discovered that operators have not taken steps to improve the café’s condition despite being told to do so in February.
Although the closure order has been only for a month, Yachiyo Kurihara of the Tokyo Animal Welfare Center said the establishment’s reopening will depend on whether it has improved.
“The café breached animal welfare laws, so we took action,” Kurihara told The Guardian. “We warned the café in January and told them how to treat their cats better, but the neglect continued.”
Cat cafés are a big hit in corporate Japan as they give tired customers the opportunity to relax in the company of animals.
The world’s first cat café opened in Taipei, Taiwan in 1998. The concept has expanded to other Asian countries, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Canada and the United States where two more cat cafés are slated to open in South Carolina and Ohio this year.
In Japan, there are around 150 cat cafés scattered across the country.
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